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Videodrome TV James Woods, Max Renn, Deborah Harry, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley, David Tsubouchi, David Cronenberg Videodrome: a sleazy horror TV exec is searching for new and extreme content when he stumbles across ‘Videodrome’, a pirate broadcast full of violence and torture. There’s only one thing better than a gory picture, and that’s a gory picture that has something to say, and better still when over 30 years later it’s more relevant than ever. James Woods is great as Max Renn; a character so jaded that he sees a snuff film and immediately falls in love with the plot and cheap production values. On both layers (the film’s plot and the movie itself) sex and violence no longer cut it as ‘extreme’, and both Renn and Cronenberg are pressing hard against the boundaries of sexual violence, perversions, pain for pleasure… Not content with just being ‘extreme’, Videodrome stands out as being unsettling in a number of ways; it intentionally blurs the boundaries between reality and off-kilter hallucinations; and contains stomach turning physical effects like the ‘gun hand’ – shucks, even seeing a living, moving, human-like TV set is disturbing. It’s been at least ten years since I previously watched Vireodrome and even though the sensational imagery and ideas have stuck with me for the entire time, they’re so twisted, unique, and eerily prophetic that they don’t lose any of their impact on subsequent viewings. A brilliant and intelligent horror director, grotesque physical effects sequences, and though-provoking ideas make Videodrome a timeless horror classic.

Score: 8/10

Videodrome Helmet James Woods, Max Renn, Deborah Harry, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley, David Tsubouchi, David Cronenberg

Arrow Films have just released the comprehensive 4-disc Blu Ray & DVD box-set of Videodrome, which includes 4 of Cronenberg‘s earlier movies and a shitload of interesting & rare behind-the-scenes footage and extras from UK and US TV archives featuring the likes of John Landis, John Carpenter, George Romero. More info here.

Killers Mo Brothers, azuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya, Ray Sahetapy, Ersya Aurelia, Epy Kusnandar, Mei Kurokawa, Denden, Motoki Fukami, Tara Basro, Dimas Argobie

Killers (キラーズ, Kirazu): a serial killer who uploads his work to a ‘DeathTube‘ site inspires an everyman to go vigilante. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve seen directors harness everything down to the distributors & funders logos to add to the film’s aesthetic; and with this level of detail from the get go, the film is technically admirable – sound, editing, camerawork etc. The opening 5 minutes really set the mood, with a shocking and ultra-graphic murder: the violence slowly escalates and darkens as the runtime progresses. Unlike The Raid‘s gritty-but-styalised – and even poetic – gore, this film is just plain gritty. One killer is a savvy psychopath fit for Dexter, the other is an everyman pushed over the edge, Falling Down style. Another unique aspect is that it’s a collaborative effort from two directors (The Mo Brothers – not real brothers), filmed in two locations – Japan and Indonesia – with English spoken parts when the two leads interact; it doesn’t hinder the film’s international appeal, although something feels lost in translation story-wise. At 140 minutes it does lose feel rather long-winded and intricate for what is essentially a serial killer movie with a disjointed story and not much in the way of themes or messages. If you like your gore gory, and your films stylish this ticks both boxes – although not a lot else. The main stars of Killers are the directors, who with more focus (shorter runtime and tighter story) could pose a serious threat to Gareth Evans as the king of contemporary Indonesian action.

Score: 6/10

Killers 3 Mo Brothers, azuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya, Ray Sahetapy, Ersya Aurelia, Epy Kusnandar, Mei Kurokawa, Denden, Motoki Fukami, Tara Basro, Dimas Argobie Killers 2 Mo Brothers, azuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya, Ray Sahetapy, Ersya Aurelia, Epy Kusnandar, Mei Kurokawa, Denden, Motoki Fukami, Tara Basro, Dimas Argobie